Wastage in Everyday Life
Wastage is apparent in many aspects of life, such as clothing, food, lodging and our very own actions! It is a problem that many countries all over the world place a huge emphasis on.
The Earth has given us a place to live in, food to eat, energy resources to use and water to drink. But, all we have done for the Earth is torment her, destroying her day by day. We waste food by throwing away edible leftovers, we waste energy by using electricity like there is no tomorrow, we waste water by letting the tap run while we brush our teeth. These are just some examples of how we are reciprocating what the Earth has done for us.
All we do is waste, waste and waste. Is this the way to repay kindness? NO! We have to stop wasting, and before you do that, read on to learn more about wastage in everyday life.
Water is a basic resource found on Earth and it is a necessity all living creatures need to live. Plants need water to photosynthesize and make food. Animals need water for drinking and some sea creatures live in the water. We humans need water for washing, drinking, bathing, industries, cooking? With so many uses who can deny that water is of utmost importance to life?
But is water inexhaustible? NO! In the colossal tank of water that Earth provides us with, only a spoonful of it can be used. 70.8% of the Earth’s surface is covered with water. Out of this 70.8%, 97% is saltwater, which we can neither drink nor use. Out of the remaining 3% of freshwater, almost 70% of it is locked in glaciers and icecaps and most of the remaining is below your feet as groundwater. Of all the freshwater on Earth, only 0.3% can be used for our everyday lives. That is less than 1% of the world’s total water supply!
Despite the fact that only less than 1% of the world’s water supply is suitable for usage, we do not have a shortage of water. However, the water distribution in countries is very unbalanced. About 65% of usable water is concentrated in 10 countries. 80 other countries that hold about 40% of the world’s population experience a serious lack of water.
The way humans are using and polluting water has reached a critical stage. In the previous century, around the mid 1990s, the yearly disposal of waste water into rivers, lakes and seas all around the world is as much as 500,000,000,000 cubic meters, causing more than 3,550,000,000 cubic meters of water bodies to be polluted! At the world’s fifteenth World Water Day, a shocking announcement was made. Around 1,300,000,000 people do not have access to clean water and 3,100,000 people die of diseases related consumption of dirty water every year.
Most countries not only have a serious water pollution problem, they also waste water at an alarming rate. In the recent years, water consumption has increased, and at the same time, the problem of water wastage has also worsened. China and America produce the same kind of food, but China uses twice the amount of water. China’s Deputy Minister of Water Resource, Mr. Zhang Chunyuan said that agriculture is one of the main water consumers in China, using about 72% of the total amount of water used in China. However, out of massive amount of water used, only one-third is used effectively and efficiently. More than half of the water is lost through transportation and flood irrigation. Industries use 225 cubic meters in China compared to around 100 cubic meters in other developed countries. Furthermore, even though water used in the cities may be much lesser than the amount used for agriculture and industrial purposes, but the wastage that occurs in cities do not lose out to the two previous users. The amount of water that car users use to wash their cars in a year is enough to fill up more than one Kunming Lake or six North Seas.
Water wastage is not only prevalent in China, but all around the world. It is a crisis that cannot be ignored and must be attended to before things reach a point of no return.
Electricity plays an important part in our lives. Without electricity, one can only imagine how difficult and tedious life would be. Without electricity, nights would be spent in darkness. Without electricity, the internet is unthinkable and it would be as if everybody were back, living in the Stone Age. But as human ares, when we have, we waste. Are we going to wait till the end of the world before we learn about our mistakes? By then, all will be useless, so treasure what you have now and CONSERVE!
City lights brighten up the roads, beautify the streets and bring convenience to people. But are all the lights necessary? Or are they just pretty? Is it worth wasting resources to put up a lighting display along a street that many people would not even stop to look at and appreciate? Is it not enough to just light up a street so that visibility can be attained?
A night in Paris is not a brightly beautiful one, but one that is lightly lit up. The French government deems it as a way to control electricity wastage by limiting the usage of neon lights. Eight years ago, when the French were welcoming a new millennium, nothing was different. There were no unnecessary lightings, only the country’s pride, the Eiffel Tower, was decorated with a countdown timer.
All the “pretty little lights" are just excuses to waste a country’s resources. All we need are road lamps! Hong Kong, Las Vegas, Tokyo, Singapore, Shenzhen and New York are all cities on the list of big electricity wasters due to a lighted up night scenery.
Ever since the 1990s, many countries have been infected with the trend of lighting up their streets beautifully to create an alluring night scene. Some cities even create a night scene that is so bright, it is as if it were daytime.
There is nothing wrong with lighting up a street at night. Road lamps to ensure visibility and safety and a few special lighting effects to attract tourists are all that is needed. Some places are using decorated lights all along the streets and by doing so, they waste energy resources and money. Furthermore, electricity wastage leads to an environmental problem known as light pollution.
Sometimes, having experienced the glare of light during the day, being encompassed by dimness can help a person relax. If you stay in Singapore, or any other cities that have a very bright night scene, you will know that stars in the night sky are rare. The lack of stars is due to the exceeding brightness of the streets below. See, sometimes, dimness is really good.
Don’t be mistaken. City lights are not the only form of electricity wastage. Not switching off the lights when you leave the room or leaving your television on even when there is no one watching are forms of electricity wastage.
Small actions can cause big impacts. All you have to do to help is to use that little bit of effort to ensure that you switch off the lights before leaving a room.
Have you ever experienced the following?
A: Hey, there are a lot of leftovers, let’s pack them up for tomorrow’s lunch.
B: Pack them up? Just leave them! You aren’t the only one anyway!
A: But it’s such a waste!
B: Waste?! HAHA! Don’t be silly! Only beggars eat leftovers.
How do you feel after reading the above?
Food wastage is a phenomenon which is causing many countries to sit up and take notice. However, the problem of food wastage not only did not improve, it has gotten worse. Is it due to the societal status that everyone is wasting food as they feel that packing leftovers are degrading and 'cheap' If you think along these lines, then you cannot be more wrong. Saving and being frugal showcases your dignified moral beliefs and upbringing. Today, many people are giving up their morals to protect their so-called societal status. Is this the right way? You decide for yourself.
Now, let me show you the phenomenon of food wastage in England to jerk you out of your senses if you still think that there is nothing wrong in wasting food.
A recent study shows that the British have an alarming record of wasting food. Every year, almost 6,700,000 tons of food, valued at 8,000,000,000 pounds, is thrown away. That is almost equivalent to throwing a third of the food each British purchased into the bin. Out of the 6,700,000 tons of food thrown away, half of them are fruit skins, bones and snacks. Around 3,300,000 tons are leftover vegetables, cheese products, meat products, fish, bread and pastries. Food takes up 19% of the total waste produce, up from the 17% two years ago.
Joining England on the list of big food wasters is none other than the United States of America. In 2004, a study revealed that almost 50% of edible food in the USA goes to the rubbish bins. The problem of the discarded edible food when corrected, even if it is only partially corrected, could save the US producers and consumers billions of dollars every year. An average household wastes about 14% of their food and 15% of this wasted food include products that have not reached their expiry dates. A family of four loses about US$600 per year just by throwing away meat, fruits, vegetables, bread and other food products. At a national level, US$43,000,000,000 of food is wasted, making food wastage a very critical financial predicament in the US.
Food wastage is not only a financial and moral problem, it is also an environmental problem. Food waste makes up a significant portion of landfill use. Furthermore, fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides that are harmful to the environment are used during the growing process of many plant foods that are never eaten.
Moreover, how good do you feel when you throw away those edible leftovers that could well be a day’s meal for a family of four somewhere in a developing country? Do you know, 220 pounds of food can feed 147 people in a day? Imagine the number of people that can escape from the fingers of starvation if they have excess to the food thrown away by Americans.
As you can see, wasting food, even if it is only half a bowl of rice, can cause so much harm. So, the next time you eat, remember, finish up your food!
Paper is what many students and working adults come into contact with everyday. Paper helps us accomplish many tasks, but do we know how to appreciate it? Or are we just using paper like nobody’s business? Many people use a new piece of paper even if the previous piece still has much usable white space left. By wasting paper without a thought, we are harming one of the living things that are crucial in sustaining life. The trees.
Trees cover about 25% of Earth’s land area. According to studies, China’s forest area has decreased sharply by 23% in the past ten years. In Yunnan alone, about 16,000 hectares of forest land is cleared yearly for the past fifty years. Almost 55% of the forest land area has decreased to less than half of what it was before. This is the result of paper wastage. Deforestation has brought along with it environmental problems, the most prominent being global warming.
Excessive packaging is also a form of paper wastage. Every product puts a high level of focus on its packaging so as to attract customers. When exchanging gifts and presents, the nicer and more exquisite the wrapping, the happier the receiver is. But is the packaging and wrapping really necessary? They all go into the bin, so why waste resources like this? Ultimately, we are giving a present, not the wrapper; buying a product, not the packaging. There is no reason to waste resources on unnecessary purposes. We should purchase products that have minimal packaging so as to help do our part for the trees.
Use paper products frugally, help wipe away the tears of the trees!